Learning about Insulation

We have been talking about houses and how to keep them nice and warm inside.  We needed to find out more about insulation.

Teacher wanted to bring snowmen to school, but even though it feels cold right now, it is not cold enough for snow.

So she brought 5 cups of ice instead.

This is what we were wondering:

We covered 4 of these pots of ice in either cotton wool, cloth, newspaper or tinfoil. We left one pot with no insulation at all.  This is the control pot.

Here was the question we asked ourselves:

Now we got to make our predictions on our whiteboards.  Most of us expected the ice in cotton wool to melt first because this ice looked nice and cosy in its cotton woolly jacket.  We all thought that the ice with no insulation would melt last because it had no covering to keep it warm.  We left all the cups of ice on the window sill in the sun so that the test would be a fair test.

We were really surprised to find that the results were the opposite to our predictions.  To see how much ice had melted we poured the water from each cup into another cup, and then we put these cups in order according to which had the most water (because the more water we had in each cup the more ice that had melted).

Now we realise that a warm coat can keep you warm if you are already warm, but it would keep a snowman cold because the snowman is already cold.  That is what insulation does, it keeps warm things from getting cold, and cold things from warming up.  How useful!